Monday, May 2, 2011

Purpose of school

I often think and rethink about the purpose of school. On my good days, I think that we have the best of intentions, and it's just that we have poor implementation. But then on my bad days, I fear that school is working exactly the way it was intended.

My bad days are the the product of quotes like this from William Torrey Harris, U.S. Commissioner of Education, 1889 - 1906:

"The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places ... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world.


  1. I do the same! And I often rewrite the curriculum that would allow this purpose to take place; it normally fits on a post-it-note!

  2. If you haven't read his blogs already, you ought to start reading Larry Cuban, School Reform and Classroom Practice. He is a retired Stanford professor of education policy.


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